No matter what you say about Chinese cars, there’s still no denying the fact that vehicles from the People’s Republic have improved by leaps and bounds in recent years. Geely, in particular, has produced some pretty decent vehicles of late, with the Coolray—the sole model in the brand’s Philippine lineup—being a testament to its newfound prowess.
Now, the Chinese manufacturer has made a very timely announcement: It will invest RMB370 million to develop what it calls ‘healthier cars.’ That’s more than $53 million or about P2.7 billion going the way of R&D.
But what does the term ‘healthier cars’ even mean? Geely says these are cars that will be built using environmentally sustainable materials, and incorporated with antibacterial and antiviral properties. The said materials can be used within air-conditioner systems and on in-cabin surfaces such as door handles and buttons. To achieve this, Geely’s global R&D and design networks in Europe, US, and China will work together with professional medical and scientific research institutions.
“Epidemic prevention is a job that requires the long-term effort of wider society,” says An Conghui, Geely Holding Group president and Geely Auto Group CEO. “[With cars being] the most common mode of transportation, consumers spend a considerable amount time in their cars, akin to a ‘second home.’ Only by making healthier products can we meet consumer demand for better quality of life.
“Based on the automotive industry’s development direction built around electrified, connectivity, intelligence, and shared mobility, auto companies should commit to developing products that help protect the health of drivers and passengers. This will become one of Geely Auto key long-term development objectives.”
Given the current novel coronavirus (nCoV) outbreak in China, the technology and systems arising from this R&D initiative will broaden the scope of passenger safety in the future to include the prevention of airborne diseases. What do you think of Geely’s move?